Gabbard’s stances don’t always fit with the rest of the Democratic Party. courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Point Counterpoint: Clinton’s criticism a failed attempt to meddle in the primary

Clinton’s claim that Gabbard is a Russian asset was unfounded and over the line.

In one of the stranger rivalries to emerge during the Democratic Primary season, the Hillary Clinton vs. Tulsi Gabbard heavyweight bout has spontaneously appeared. After returning to society following her retreat in the woods after the 2016 presidential election, Clinton was relatively quiet, patiently aiding her preferred causes and choosing not to make a scene by returning directly into the political battlefield, until now.

With her definitively saying several times that she would not be running for president again, Hillary Clinton still wants to meddle in the process. After founding a new political action committee and contributing to personal causes, as well as writing with her daughter and repairing her legacy as a politician who never achieved her final goal, one would think she had enough to do. However, she has returned, making strange, unclear statements that Democratic Primary Candidate Tulsi Gabbard is both the favorite candidate of the Republican Party and a Russian agent.

Her statement, which appears in former fellow Obama-era worker David Plouffe’s podcast, is exceptionally poorly worded, which introduces an element of doubt to her intended meaning. She mentions four things: Tulsi Gabbard, Jill Stein, the Russians and the Republican Party, but her pronoun usage is rather vague and difficult to parse, with most of the focus lying on her statement that “She [the Democratic candidate Hillary has in mind] is the favorite of the Russians … and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset.” So, uh, what does that actually mean? Some individuals translate Clinton’s statement with Tulsi Gabbard being the first she, and that makes sense due to their shared history, with Gabbard symbolically leaving her high ranking position in the Democratic National Committee to endorse Bernie Sanders over Clinton in 2016, but this looks more like word soup than a real accusation.

Speaking of 2016, let’s talk about Clinton’s qualifications to make such statements. She is, of course, a recognizable name, with her attaining multiple important positions in the United States government, such as First Lady, Senator and even Secretary of State, but she is also, unless someone has been feeding her info, out of the loop. Her time in the woods certainly did not grant her omniscience, and her current political position should not give her access to the confidential information necessary to accuse someone of treason, because she just isn’t relevant anymore, in style nor substance. She’s a relic at this point, a boomer trying desperately to hold onto previous prestige, but she failed. She lost the easiest election since Washington’s, which does not indicate to me her extreme competence in the field of modern politics. Things are so much faster, criticism so much more varied, but she simply has not modernized correctly, and that should limit the weight her words have. She did not have the “it” factor that built a connection between her and the voters, and she is ostensibly taking her frustration out on Gabbard, because Gabbard is doing what Clinton failed at: sparking genuine interest.

Gabbard’s the very essence of a maverick, choosing to play across party lines in an age of party politics, making her a very attractive candidate to disparate groups, with her more isolationist views attracting far right thinkers while retaining a more progressive stance on internal affairs. She is on the Medicare for All Committee in Congress. She plays it straight and chooses her own path, and is rewarded for it. She’s bold, daring and quick to call others out, almost like a Donald Trump-type figure with more solid political ideas. Of course Clinton would have it out for her, and she compares Gabbard’s existence to that of Jill Stein, who, some believe, was the cause of Clinton’s loss, arguing that Stein pulled voters in key areas away from Clinton, which cost her the election. It’s a bit of a conspiracy theory, but that did not stop Clinton from lumping Stein in with Gabbard as potential Russian agents, or as darlings of the Conservative party, or something.

It all goes back to the language of her statement, which does not definitively indicate who is supposed to be what, which person is committing treason and which other one will run as a third party candidate. Clinton is just causing trouble, potentially out of spite, and her actions should not have an impact on the political climate. All she does is make other people work to clean up her messes, because now Trump wants back in, trundling in to protect Gabbard by steamrolling his old foe. Clinton’s words opened a wormhole, fracturing Democratic lines and causing Donald Trump to protect a Democratic primary candidate that might be running against him in 2020. Her actions made Trump look comparatively rational in the eyes of Democratic voters. Clinton’s weakly worded, inflammatory statement looks more like an answer you give a professor when they call on you while you were dozing than it does an actually coherent political statement.

Post Author: Adam Walsh